Beyond The 4 Walls
May these words encourage your life...
|Posted on November 26, 2014 at 11:40 PM||comments (108)|
Have you found anything new in the world that you currently find yourself living in? I preached a sermon once entitled “Destined to Repeat History”. In that sermon, I discussed some of the traps of life that you can fall into. Falling into those traps will lead to a life all to familiar. For example, let’s say that your parents didn’t complete a college or even a high school education, and they had no drive to achieve anything other than what was handed to them. Now, when you came of age and decided not to pursue additional education and training, or pursue any ideas or goals that would place you into a position to make more choices, then you can expect to live the life that your parents lived. Now, I’m not saying that obtaining a higher education and degree guarantee’s success. Neither am I saying that having a great idea without an education guarantee’s success. What I am saying is there must be some type of conscious awareness to your surroundings that will have the greatest impact on not repeating your surroundings, but a sermon recap is not the purpose of this blog.
The purpose of this edition of my blog is to discuss the reality of racism in light of our current society. Racism has never gone away and in my opinion, it never will. Not because I don’t want it to, but because humans live in a flesh body and the flesh will always be accompanied with offense and pride. I cannot speak with accuracy about any other race than my own. I am a Black Panamanian American, but because of how I was raised, I identify mostly with Black Americans. Being on the losing side of racism, (winners being those in control) I am saddened by the injustices of other ALL people, especially Black Americans. Why? I think it is because I can relate to the struggle. Each class has a particular struggle and this is mine. In education, I experienced being passed over for leadership opportunities. In the workforce, I was fired because of a blatant lie from my white co-worker which was PROVEN to be a lie; however, I was not rehired, and I’ve been followed and put over the back of my vehicle by law enforcement, while not breaking any laws - which is racial profiling.
This is not a pity party, but a reality. It hasn’t discouraged me, but encouraged me to press on and pursue those desires and dreams that I have. The media is showing us the brutality and murder by law enforcement upon the black community. The political scene (current Presidential administration) has not provided any more help for blacks, as soooooooo many of you hoped it would. And we’re seeing a mockery of the church, which was once the place of refuge. This is my message to you. Take accountability for your life and don’t leave its success or failure up to another person. We can find and will find racism in every aspect of life if you look hard enough - so accept its existence and respond accordingly.
For those who know me, you know that I love the Lord with everything in me and I’m grateful for every breath that I breathe. With that said, because I BELIEVE in God and that I know HE loves me, I know that I AM required to put forth effort in this life I live. As believers, Christians, followers of Christ, we are to live a PROACTIVE life, not a passive one.
Racism will always be around. Everyone is not going to like everyone else. The human race is too vast for that to happen. Paul teaches us in Romans 12:18, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” This does not imply that we will like everyone, but we should strive for peace. I’m sure you can think of at least 5 people that you won’t lose sleep over if you don’t have a close relationship with them, but you still want to have peace when you have to interact with them.
I wish this is something that law enforcement would understand. They are supposed to bring peace. A badge is not permission to abuse and murder others. Why are those guilty being allowed to maintain there position? If I, as a black man committed those same acts, I’d be under the jail. Can you see what I mean with “The Reality of Racism”. How’s this? Do you know what young black boys and men are taught regarding being pulled over by a police officer - especially a white officer? Our young black males are taught to SURVIVE. Why would you need to “survive” being pulled over? Because the reality is you could find yourself dead or in jail - EVEN IF THE SITUATION DOESN’T WARRANT THE REACTION. So, because Racism is Reality, you have to learn how to use your most powerful weapon - YOUR BRAIN!
People, please read, please learn to communicate your thoughts and feelings, please attend workshops and seminars that will help your life. Sadly, we (Black Americans) invest in FOOLISHNESS. Fashion, rims, and everything that feeds your FLESH. Following your flesh will lead to destruction. “Walk after the spirit and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. Resist the devil and he will flee.” Galatians 5:16 and James 4:7.
To the families that have and are enduring the Reality of Racism, hold your heads up and be encouraged. I know that is hard, but you must! Continuing to fight in the face of racism helps fight against it to see another day. To those who are racist, I love you with the Love of the Lord.
Psalm 121:1, 2
I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?
My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.
|Posted on November 19, 2014 at 1:15 AM||comments (3)|
Thank you and welcome to another blog release by Dr Harris. The title of this blob was inspired by my growing weariness of the inconsistency within the “Christian” faith. All who profess “christianity” profess to believe in God, have regular church attendance, and read the bible. The inconsistency comes when their lives bear no conviction of the biblical influence and christian teaching, yet many are quick to confess that no one can judge them but God. Although, it is true that God will be and is our ultimate judge, we can make honest observations based upon the fruit that our life bears.
My question to you is, “Where do you draw the line?” I mean, why use a title that you do not live up to? Why, quote catchy bible verses, and attend church religiously, and live a life contrary to what you are professing? Why half step on the one thing that really matters in your life? Everything that we possess in this life will stay in this life.
As “christians”, we want to be in the now. We want to be a part of the latest fashions and technological trends. We want to experience all of the pleasures that the rest of mankind is experiencing, regardless if it contradicts teaching from the bible we so proudly tote. Yes, we all make mistakes and we all want to enjoy our lives and that is okay. I’m not unrealistic here. We face trials on a daily basis and sometimes we fall short. What I am realistic about is that many of us confessing Christ does not know what it means to live a christ like and holy life, nor do we have the sincere desire to do so.
Don’t fool yourself by thinking that you are a great Christian, that you and God are tight, and it is okay to fulfill every lustful desire that you have. “Walk by the spirit and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16. YOU CANNOT LIVE ANYWAY YOU WANT TO AS A BELIEVER IN CHRIST. There are some practices that you simply cannot indulge in and until you get your FLESH UNDER CONTROL, you will continue to fall. Let me be the first to tell you that it can be hard to stop feeding your flesh, but once you starve it, it becomes easier to resist those temptations. This power to resist comes from the spirit of God working within you, but you have to feed your spirit man in order for it to get stronger.
Where will you draw the line? Will you serve God or will you be a slave to your flesh?
|Posted on November 6, 2014 at 10:05 AM||comments (0)|
We live in an age where opinions abound. Many of those opinions are delivered in a indirect manner. Facebook, Twitter, Text Messaging, & Emails, are overflowing with what people think. The ability to have those hard conversations are what we need to hold fast to. I do understand that it takes a certain amount of nerve to have those conversations and that comes with time, but truthful conversations are so beneficial.
For those who believe in the Christ and have accepted Him as your savior, I trust that you are living your life according to the word of God and the leading of the Holy Spirit. With that said, I want to encourage you to rely on scripture and prayer to help you through difficult times. Please do not use the scripture to hide behind and this is what I mean. When you get into a tough situation where you believe someone has wronged you or spoken ill of you, don’t grab a scripture that you think is convenient, but is out of context with the situation.
“If we are led of the Spirit, we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.” says Galatians 5:16. As followers of Christ, we must understand the struggle that we must fight on a daily basis. The fight that we must face on a daily basis is that we must overcome this flesh. Our flesh wants us to be lazy, our flesh wants us to pursue vain pursuits, and what our flesh wants the most, is to be offended. When we are offended, we are shut off from everyone and everything else because we feel we have been dealt a great injustice. We must realize, and this only comes after going through some trials, studying God’s word, and asking that God shape us into who He wants us to be, that offense is merely a distraction from focusing on God.
In addition, we must understand that we cannot take a passive approach to our walk with Christ. I understand that we all have jobs, careers, families, responsibilities, dreams, and goals, but those all take second place to the WILL of the father. With that said, be proactive in your service to the King of Kings. Don’t wait until problems hit your life and circumstances become unbearable. Scripture instructs and encourages us on many things, but these three are very important to me, as I believe they should be to us all.
3 important scriptures in how we approach our daily living!
1. Psalm 118:24 says, “This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice in be glad in it.”
2. Ephesians 4: 25 says, “Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.”
3. James 1:3 says, “Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.”
Saints of God, be encouraged! With all that you can, resist being offended by the actions and words of others. Oftentimes, we misinterpret the message others are attempting to convey. If we would take a few moments to ask questions first and leave out the assumptions, our lives would be filled with a little more peace.
|Posted on October 3, 2014 at 9:45 AM||comments (0)|
Good morning to you!
I am so excited to bring another blog to you - especially on this topic. Everything that I speak about, I prefer to have direct experience on the subject because that makes me more effective. Before we get into what it is to overcome a stronghold, let’s first define what a stronghold is and can be in your life.
A stronghold is a defined as a fortress or a strongly fortified defensive structure. The purpose of a stronghold is to defend against intruders and it is not easy to overcome such a defense. Strongholds need to be identified if they are ever to be overcome. So, the question on the table is this, what is the stronghold in your life? What is that one thing that seems to knock you back every time? What is that one thing that you know doesn’t benefit you, but you find yourself engaged again and again? Is it unhealthy eating habits? Is it television? Is it lying or cheating? Whatever it is, you can have the victory.
Let me share a person account of victory from my own life. We live in an age where human interaction isn’t as valuable as it once was years ago, but human interaction continues to remain to be a necessary part of society because of the relationships that exist. Marriage is one of the necessary relationships that we have and this is my testimony of victory.
As a man and husband in my marriage, I didn’t always value the art of communication, so unfortunately, my wife was on the receiving end of some disrespectful communication. At the time, I didn’t believe that I was a person that spoke with disrespect and I didn’t want to hear if you thought I was. I just knew that I had it all together. Have you ever found yourself in a situation where others you love were trying to tell you something about a potentially negative or offensive quality? I’ll take a chance and guess that you probably didn’t appreciate it. I know for me, it made me very offended because I just thought I had it together.
As time went by, I found myself going through the same issues over and over. I mean, it felt as if I was having the same conversation about those issues every few days! When you are a person that is led by the Lord and is seeking to become all that you were created to be, there will come a time when you start to hear past the words of others and hear the voice of the Lord calling for you to draw closer to him. As you draw closer to the Lord, the strongholds in your life become more apparent. They become more apparent because as you desire more of the Lord, He brings those things to your attention that are preventing you from moving forward.
Those things are strongholds because they are preventing you from effectively operating in your purpose. My stronghold was disrespectfully talking to my wife and a demeaning approach to her because of the arrogance in heart. I thought I had all the answers - especially towards her. When you live with someone 24 hours a day, eventually you will become yourself - no matter how good or ugly your traits are.
Looking back, I can see and appreciate all the ways that she tried to let me know what how those strongholds were straining our marriage; however, I am eternally thankful that God gave her the patience to love me and my inability to see the strongholds on my life.
So, how did I overcome the strongholds you are wondering? Well, it didn’t start until I asked the Lord to help me see and understand the things about myself that were causing division in the marriage that I wanted. When that became my prayer, and no moment sooner, I was finally able to hear the concern of my wife. I was not only able to hear her, I was able to appreciate how it effected her and that made me sorrowful that I was that way. From that point, I made it my business to intentionally respond in a manner that she could appreciate. I sought ways to respond in a manner that showed her that I was concerned about our marriage and the improvement of it.
This is the only way to undo those mighty fortresses in your life that are keeping you from effectively living in your created purpose. You have to want to have anything out of your life that God is not pleased with and that comes through prayer, fellowship with other believers, and an honest effort to resist those things in your life. If you don’t want to resist, you will not. I don’t care how much you pray. God doesn’t force you to serve Him - it is voluntary.
We all have to start somewhere, so don’t be overwhelmed or discouraged by the strongholds in your life. Romans 3:23 says ,”For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” What will you do from this point is the question? Remain encouraged! God loves and so do I!
~ Dr Harris
|Posted on September 9, 2014 at 8:10 AM||comments (0)|
Good Morning to YOU!
How are you doing today? How has your day been so far? How about your week? How about your summer? I hope that it was great and that you had a wonderful time. If not, what was it that made it less than desireable? Was it your job, your children (if applicable), or your spouse that put a damper or is putting a damper on your life?
For those who are in relationships, which happens to be ALL of us, take solace in the following: your success depends on your desire and willingness to put in the NECESSARY work to change your current circumstance. As I said, we are all in some type of relationship, whether it be an associate, a friend, a boyfriend, a girlfriend, a wife, or a husband. If you are not married, but you find yourself in a relationship, take care that the relationship is going somewhere and that it has purpose. Don't spend months or years in a relationship with a person that you know isn't going anywhere. Don't waste your time. If you want to be married and you're in a relationship with a person that does not want to get married, that is a perfect example of a relationship that is not going anywhere.
For those that are married, unfortunately you do not have the option of getting out of the marriage relationship. If you know me, then you know that I believe that once you get married you are married until death separates you from your spouse (provided there is no abuse. I do not support physical abuse!) Our marriages are under ATTACK and separation and divorce have come TOO close to home. The idea of leaving and quitting is to prominent in our thinking. I want to encourage you to NEVER QUIT. I want to encourage you to seek counsel from someone who knows how to handle the stress that comes with marriage. The stress I'm talking about is the arguing, the shouting, the disrespectful talking, the demeaning comments, the ignoring, the lack of consideration, the disagreement in raising the children, the disagreement on how the finances are used, and many other differences that are present.
Let me tell you that differences are okay, but the way we handle those differences are what creates an atmosphere of joy or sorrow. Those differences are what brought us together in the first place. We must learn how to maintain that healthy respect and love for those differences that attracted us to one another as time goes by.
We live in an instant society, but if you are not strong enough to understand where that instant gratification is appropriate, you can cause great havoc in your life. We can have our needs instantly meet at fast food establishments, but not in our relationships. We can't look at the relationship menu and order "love with a side of encouragement and a kiss" and get it in 90 seconds. It may take a couple years for your spouse to get to that point. Have the patience to endure until that time comes. I PROMISE, it will be worth the wait!
|Posted on July 9, 2014 at 9:10 AM||comments (0)|
Good day to YOU!
I pray that you and those dear to your heart are doing well. Today's blog is about "remaining faithful" to those things which you desire and aspire to - both for your family and for you personally. We all have goals and dreams in our lives, but sometimes the weight of our disappointments from others and ourselves can break our focus. I want to encourage you to REFOCUS on those things that are important to you! I believe that it is NEVER TOO LATE to achieve what you want. The one variable in achieving those goals depends on your work ethic and your level of consistency. No one else!
As a father and husband, my challenges may be a bit different than that of a single man; however, despite those differences and challenges, I still have a decision to make between the following two choices: 1) Complain about the state the I find myself in and use it as an excuse to accomplishing those goals, or 2) I can accept where I am, get focused, get the wisdom and knowledge I need, and practically, consistently, and intentionally work towards my success.
Now, believe you me, it will not be a walk in the park to gaining success. As with ANYTHING, it takes time and energy to be successful. Also, know that you have a very strong opponent whose ready to ensure your defeat. Can you guess who that opponent is? Well - - - - - - ? The greatest opponent in your path of success is YOU! Not the opinions of others, not your spouse, not your children, not your boss, but YOU! No one can make you try hard, but you can allow yourself NOT to try at all. REFOCUS because "You can do all things through Christ who gives you strength." Philippians 4:13
|Posted on June 13, 2014 at 9:50 AM||comments (0)|
I thought that would get your attention! How are you doing today? I hope you are doing better today than you have ever been in your ENTIRE life! That is my confession for this day! I'm smarter today than I was yesterday. I'm more patient than I was yesterday! I'm more understanding today than I was yesterday. I understand more today that this day was given to me by the Lord and for that I will live with gratitude.
I wanted to speak specifically to you about your goals and desires! I want to let you know that you can do it. I want you to succeed and WHEN you do, I want you to share your victory with me. Tell me about why and how your victories came about. If you are having difficulties accomplishing your goals, let me offer this to you.
Remember that your goals are your goals and they are unique and special because they are yours. Don’t let anyone (mother, father, brother, sister, boss,coworker, neighbor, etc…) discourage you from what God has put on your heart to accomplish. With that, you need to know that if you don’t do it, then the likelihood of it getting down is slim.
For example, if you have a goal to lose 5 pounds or 50 pounds, surround yourself with people who support you. Stay away from those who have nothing but negative commentary to offer. Accomplishing your goals, takes the following:
If you can do these things, YOU WILL BE SUCCESSFUL!
|Posted on May 30, 2014 at 1:15 PM||comments (0)|
How Are You!
The runner who has chosen the hurdles as their speciality event in track knows this one thing: they have multiple obstacles in their way that must be overcome. The obstacles are the hurdles. It takes a combination of speed, agility, and timing to cross the hurdles with success. The hurdles must be jumped over. If the runner goes underneath or goes around the hurdle, then they have failed to complete the event properly.
In life, we are faced with hurdles that challenge our mental and physical abilities. If we refuse to face these hurdles head on, then we are only prolonging the issues. Sometimes, the hurdles in our lives seem insurmountable, but that is the key to overcoming them. Realizing that it just "seems" that way. Hurdles can cause emotional and physical pain, but it is just for a moment. As the cliche says, "Trouble don't last always".
Be encouraged to know that the hurdle in your life is meant to make you better. I challenge you to train harder, get in shape, get mentality tough, and face your hurdle head on!
|Posted on May 22, 2014 at 6:30 PM||comments (0)|
Good Day to You!
I pray that this has been a unique day for you in some fashion. You may have gone to the same job, same store, or encountered the same people, but I hope that this day has brought forth a new understanding in how you live life - for the better. I want to encourage you to Never Quit on yourself - especially if everyone else quits on you. I want you to have strength in Christ because "you can do all things through Him".
People have a tendency to be up today and down tomorrow, but you can take joy in knowing that you serve a consistent God. This is my purpose in life. To be a consistent follower of Christ without fail, so that you will be encouraged to be all that you are called to be. Each and everyone of us has purpose! I want to encourage you to surround yourself with people who bring good to you and not evil. If you are entertaining negative people, then I would encourage you to consider a change in friends and associates.
If you are in a relationship and it doesn't seem to be productive, then don't get out of the relationship (unless you are shacking up), but learn why things aren't working. I am specifically addressing those who are married. Don't quit on your spouse. It's time to stop pretending and have an honest conversation (or series of conversations) about your relationship. It can be better and it will if you make the decision to move forward. To those that are shacking up, or cohabitating, then you need to stop what you doing. Men, I would advise you to marry that woman. If you're playing house, then be a man and make it official. She deserves it!
I love you with the love of the Lord!
|Posted on May 8, 2014 at 12:35 AM||comments (0)|
I wanted to take this time to offer you a few words of encouragement! As men, women, and children, we are faced with daily temptations, distractions, desires, goals, decisions that need to be made, and decisions that were already made that needed to been different. In light, of all of that, know this - all of those situations and circumstances don't erase the purpose for your life. Their simply attempting to create enough noise to drown out the call of purpose and potential.
I'm not attempting to minimize the facts that difficult times weigh heavy on your heart and mind, but I am attempting to remind you that it is but for a moment. Some of our moments last longer than others, but it is not forever. In times of despair, it's good to have a true friend that you can talk to, it's good to journal or write in a diary, or participate in some activity that can give you a moment to focus on something other than your current situation.
I leave you with this final thought! Scritpure tells us in Deutronomy 4:31, "(For the LORD thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them." We serve a God that understands our troubles and is concerned! You can make it! Trust God and keep the faith!